High-profile NY Jets free agent visits with AFC East rival

The Dolphins could sign a former Jets prized free agent
Carl Lawson
Carl Lawson / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

When the NY Jets signed Carl Lawson to a three-year, $45 million contract prior to the 2021 season, the team thought they were landing their best pass rusher in decades.

Lawson's sack numbers didn't necessarily jump off the chart, but he was genuinely one of the most efficient and productive pass rushers in the NFL prior to joining the Jets. Unfortunately, the Jets never had the opportunity to see what a healthy Lawson could do on the field.

Now, three years later, Lawson is once again a free agent — albeit a much less high-profile one — looking for a new home. That new home could be in the AFC East.

Lawson reportedly visited with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday as the former Cincinnati Bengals standout is hoping to bounce back after an injury-riddled stint with the Jets.

Former NY Jets defensive end Carl Lawson could be staying in the division

The Dolphins parted ways with standout defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, and Emmanuel Ogbah this offseason, leaving the team with a pretty sizable hole in their front seven.

Signing Lawson would be one way to mitigate those losses, although the Dolphins obviously have to be wary of his injury history. A healthy Lawson was once one of the better pass rushers in football, but it's worth wondering what he still has left in the tank.

A torn Achilles suffered in the midst of a dominant training camp wiped out Lawson's 2021 season. He returned in 2022 to play in 17 games, but it was clear that he was still working his way back from the injury.

The Jets took a chance on Lawson's health in 2023, restructuring his contract instead of releasing him to save $15 million. That gamble turned out to be a poor one.

Lawson suffered a back injury in the summer and never fully recovered. The 28-year-old appeared in just six games, spending most of the season as a "healthy" scratch. He recorded just two pressures and zero QB hits in those six games.

Lawson looked like a shell of his former self last season, his explosiveness essentially nonexistent as a result of his various injuries. Perhaps another year of rehabbing his latest back ailment could do wonders for his health and effectiveness, but that's a risk some team is going to need to take.

That team won't be the Jets, who are pretty set at pass rusher after trading for Haason Reddick. It could be a team like the Dolphins, however.

For Lawson's sake, it would be encouraging to see him bounce back in 2024 and show signs of his former self. But for the Jets' sake, let's just hope it's not with an AFC East rival.